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"For the PPP for Cities Research Centre of the IESE, the collaboration of Aqualia is crucial"

  • "For the PPP for Cities Research Centre of the IESE, the collaboration of Aqualia is crucial"

About the entity

Aqualia is the water management company owned by the citizen services group FCC (51%) and by the Australian ethical fund IFM Investors (49%). Aqualia is Europe's fourth largest private water company in terms of population served.

Aqualia promotes active collaboration with all stakeholder groups, through partnerships built on the same principles and with common objectives. Currently, the company collaborates with more than 40 national and international organisations. An example is joining the PPP for Cities project, a United Nations initiative, hosted in Spain by the IESE Business School (University of Navarra). Aqualia leads the water area, contributing its experience in planning, management and development of projects that involve public private partnerships (PPP) in city environments.

Miquel Rodríguez, Executive Director of the PPP for Cities Research Centre of the IESE Business School, linked to the United Nations, tells us about this project.

Question: What value does a company like Aqualia contribute to the PPP for Cities project?

Answer: For the PPP for Cities project of IESE, the collaboration of Aqualia is crucial, both because of the company's involvement with our goal of showcasing good practices of public-private collaboration, and because of their support for quality academic research, as in the case of the assessment of the impact of PPPs on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

At the PPP for Cities Research Centre of the IESE Business School we organise PPP workshops, where we invite companies such as Aqualia to explain their experiences

Q: The programme analyses certain success stories that are edited and published by the United Nations as guidance for other nations to manage their public services. Which cases have been studied so far in the integrated water cycle sector?

A: Since we started to prepare case studies at the PPP for Cities Research Centre of IESE in 2016, we have studied different cases in Africa and Latin America, which are priority regions for the United Nations. For example, the New Cairo plant in Egypt was our first case study, followed by the El Realito Aqueduct in Mexico, or the El Salitre desalination plant in Colombia, all of them done with the support of Aqualia. Worth noting is the upcoming document on PPP case studies linked to the integrated water cycle that the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) will publish with cases from PPP for Cities.

Q: According to your experience, how do aid receiving countries view public private collaboration in water management?

A: They have a positive view. First, because in the regions mentioned there is a deficit of drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, which becomes even more important if we take into account the high proportion of urban population in those regions. Second, because of investment opportunities: thanks to PPP innovative models, many authorities now see how they can improve water services.

However, another feature we have observed in these countries is the need to strengthen the capacity of public officials that manage those PPPs. Thus, from the PPP for Cities Research Centre of the IESE we carry out workshops where, aside from discussing good practices, we invite companies such as Aqualia to talk about their experience, where public officials can learn about the view of private service providers. 

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